What is in The Average South African’s Shopping Carts for Christmas Day?

SA Consumer Holiday Shopping Insights

South African heritage is a beautiful tapestry of diverse cultures and creeds, but there’s one characteristic we all have in common. The holidays are typically shared with our families, often feeding them to the brink of explosion!

So what then—given our diversity—will you most likely find in South African’s shopping carts this December? We conducted a short sample survey to find out!

A broad view of South Africa’s Christmas lunch spread

About the Survey

For a little bit of holiday fun, we decided to conduct dipstick research to get a feel for what you can expect to see on the Christmas lunch table.

A dipstick survey is much like an exploratory survey. We use a small sample and ask open-end questions allowing respondents to speak their minds freely. –Adaptation of Quora Answer by Pratik Patel

A handful of our dedicated, trained, working moms* went into the field, using “intercept” interview methodology at local shopping centres. Our sample comprised 103 respondents in the Gauteng region aged between 20 and 45; equally split between men and women, all within LSM groups 5-8.

Christmas Survey Results

A table for?

Over half of our respondents said that they would be catering for more than ten people! A few were quick to point out that very few magazines publish recipes with yields that serve more than six.

If you find yourself in the same predicament, you can use this handy conversion guide by Indie Culinary.

Food for Thought

Crisps (chips) are served as nibbles until the feast begins. 24% of those surveyed said that crisps don’t usually feature on their grocery lists, but would for the occasion of Christmas.

As we make our way to the main meal –you guessed it– meat comes first by a mile. Judging by the way retail food stores are stocked, you’d think that Gammon or a cooked ham would be at the top of the list, think again.

Only 5.8% of our sample said that they would be consuming any Pork products as part of their Christmas lunch. Chicken came in at 8,7%; lamb or mutton at 6.8%; and traditional food such as goat or Mogodu weighed in at 5.8%.

Beef is the firm favourite among our Gautengers, mostly because they choose to braai on this auspicious day. It makes sense; the 25th is often blisteringly hot. However, most home and family orientated magazines seem to emphasise oven and stove-top cooked meals. Perhaps this resonates with the 17 respondents who said that they would like to buy a Turkey instead.

On the side, families will be dishing up a large variety of salads such as Chakalaka salad, potato salad, coleslaw and beetroot. Our interviewees indicated that they would appreciate recipes and innovative ways to spruce up these “old faithful’s”.

Further accompaniments include baked or creamed veggies of which broccoli, specifically, was mentioned numerous times.

Of course, we cannot forget dessert! Trifle, malva pudding, and other delectable treats that require custard (boxed custards in particular) are high up on the list of Christmas foods.

As for drinks, around 10% of respondents feel that Christmas would not be the same without the odd tipple.

Festive Feelings All Around

It is encouraging to note that, despite the challenging economic circumstances, only 28% of respondents think or feel that they are in a worse position than the same time last year.

Good news for brand, product and marketing managers! Roughly half of our sample feel that they are doing better now than in 2017, and will have more money to spend this holiday season.

The season for giving (and receiving).

When it comes to desired Christmas gifts, a good many respondents would like to receive a cell phone or wristwatch. Combining laptops and cell phones, close to 20% of our sample opt for a new technology item. It’s worth mentioning that those who spoke of cell phones asked for a Smartphone specifically.

Topping the list though, was a request for money or gift vouchers. It seems most of the respondents have either not yet made up their mind, or have their eye on something a tad pricier than the average Christmas present. So, they instead wish to collect contributions towards their gift of choice.

They say, “go big or go home”, and 7% of those surveyed certainly dream big. They said that they would like a new car for Christmas —but, we think they may have to wait another year or two.

A post-holiday treat

We hope you had as much fun reading the results of the survey as we had in gathering these insights. It’s a joy to get shoulder deep in market research because we’re utterly fascinated by what makes people tick. We also love helping brands to make better product formulation and packaging design decision by uncovering consumer perception and preferences.

We can’t wait to see what next year will bring. Until then, we’d like to wish you a very happy holiday!

*Market Instinct employs over 150 working mothers as field workers in line with our ethos for empowering South African women. The jobs and flexible working hours help them to feed their families and manage their lives more easily